With an eye toward a sustainable renovation, NMHM Chicago has acquired an existing building in downtown Chicago to house the new museum. Built in 1933, the three-story, 25,000 square foot masonry structure would undergo a dramatic, cutting-edge transformation led by Chicago-based design firm Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture.
Adrian Smith and Gordon Gill Architecture envisions a new kind of museum that is itself a living organism: both metaphorically in keeping with the museum’s theme and content, and literally, as the high performance building will actually generate its own sustainable energy.
As visitors engage with interactive exhibits throughout the museum, they will be able to individually generate energy that will power the building--mirroring the activities of nutrients within the human body. These developing energy technologies--such as a heel-strike system which harvests force produced by foot traffic-- will be visually represented on both interior surfaces and the building envelope, showing visitors the “real-time” display of their energy generation. When the museum is lightly populated it will exude a quiet energy; at peak times it will visibly fliicker and pulse from the physical presence of its occupants. The building’s facade will also incorporate a new high-tech “wrapper” that projects imagery relating to the museum and its programming. This dynamic exterior will intrigue visitors and engage in an architectural dialogue with the Pritzker Pavilion bandshell to the east on Washington Street.